MEC MADIKIZELA LIES TO PARLIAMENT ABOUT DELAYS IN HOUSING DELIVERY

MEC LIES TO PARLIAMENT ABOUT DELAYS IN HOUSING DELIVERY: Public Protector must investigate breaches of Constitution and Ethics Code.

Lying to Parliament is against the law and undermines public trust in Government.

21 November 2019

Statement by Brett Herron, GOOD Member of the Western Cape Parliament

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Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, a member of Premier Alan Winde’s provincial cabinet of “higher integrity”, twice lied to parliament in a bid to explain why the City of Cape Town has failed to implement a single project reversing the spatial injustice of the apartheid Group Areas Act.

In accordance with Section 3 and 4 of the Executive Ethics Act (1998) I have reported Madikizela, the MEC for Transport and Public Works, to the Office of the Public Protector to investigate a breach of the Executive Ethics Code.

South African legislatures are forums for robust debate and competing ideas. But there are laws, codes and rules to ensure that the political debate serves a higher purpose than the individuals’ or their parties’ interests.

The truth matters.

The Executive Ethics Code requires Members of the Executive to “perform their duties…diligently and honestly” and “to act…in a manner that is consistent with the integrity of their office…”.

Section 2.3 of the Executive Ethics Code provides that a member of the executive may not “wilfully mislead the legislature to which they are accountable”.

I have requested the Public Protector to investigate the MEC for wilfully misleading the Western Cape Parliament on two occasions.

On 23 July 2019 during the Western Cape Provincial Parliament’s debate on Premier Winde’s State of the Province address Madikizela made the following statement during his speech to the legislature:

I can tell you now, Mr Speaker, that almost all the projects that were initiated by member Herron in the inner-city were halted by the court, all of them.”

Madikizela was referring to the inner city affordable housing projects I had initiated in 2017 when I was the City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development.

It is a lie to tell the public that the courts halted the delivery of thousands of affordable, well-located homes.

MEC Madikizela’s DA colleagues in the City of Cape Town stopped them, not the courts.

Since his statement to the legislature on 23 July 2019 I have submitted three sets of Questions to the Minister to allow him to clarify, or concede, the dishonesty of his statement of 23 July 2019.

His first reply feigned ignorance of the issue.

He failed to answer the second set of questions, and when the Provincial Parliament rules forced him to answer orally, he then alleged the projects were halted by “court challenges.”

Once again, this is a lie.

Section 136 (1) of the Constitution requires MECs to act in accordance with the Executive Ethics Code. Wilfully misleading parliament is thus a breach of the Constitution.

Besides the Public Protector’s investigation, the DA should walk its own talk.

The party in the past called for Ministers, like Lynne Brown, who were caught lying to Parliament, to be fired.

Newly elected DA leader John Steenhuisen called for former Minister Malusi Gigaba to be fired saying leaders should, “prove to the South African people that they are serious about taking action against yet another one of their colleagues who has been found to have violated the Constitution”.

Madikizela is understandably embarrassed that during his 10 year term as the MEC responsible for Housing he palpably failed to deliver integrated, inner-city or well-located affordable housing.

In fact he permitted the Sea Point Tafelberg School site, which was always intended to be used for social housing, to be sold off.

The truth of the matter is that despite the viability of several inner city housing projects I championed in 2017 – and the receipt of 13 proposals, demonstrating a competitive process – the DA in the City of Cape Town inexplicably and indefensibly cancelled the projects in August this year.

The DA did this of their own accord, and not because of any court order or court challenge.

In doing so the party acted consistently with its actions in October 2018 when it blocked the affordable housing project I was championing for the Salt River Market. This blocking prompted my resignation from the DA and from the Mayoral Committee in the City of Cape Town.

The DA demonstrated that it was not committed to the spatial integration nor redress that we had promised during the 2016 elections.

In disseminating false information, and then wilfully seeking to promote or maintain those lies, the MEC has been deliberately misleading the Western Cape Provincial Parliament and the public.

Such conduct contravenes the Executive Ethics Code and the Constitution.

The Executive Ethics Act says that the Public Protector must investigate any breach of the code of ethics.

Madikizela’s conduct is illegal.

South Africans deserve an honest, truthful government.

The Public Protector has confirmed that this complaint will be allocated to the Good Governance and Integrity Branch of the Public Protector and that a Senior Investigator will be assigned to investigate.

Link to the dossier submitted to the Public Protector is available at http://bit.ly/37oxpML